May 18 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 25

The fat man utters some more words. The men who are still alive seem to sucome from the sickness, and then all the dead begin to rise again, shedding their flesh to become skeletons. The group manage to take out both them, and the fat man. With him down, Alph runs to get men to form a cordon around the yick, and obtain torches, and drakewing goes to the garden of galana to asks the druids for their help in purifying the area. On his way through, he mentions the mess to the guards on duty and they send a runner to the army. While they are gone Daraja opens one of the crates to have a look, and in one sees a load of empty glass flasks and vials. Elo opens another and sees this one had glass flasks filled with slimy goop, much like what was produced when the men died. They both take a few of the glass vials for various reasons, just as Alph comes back with Watchmen.

While Drakewing is at the garden of Galana the druids mention they seem to be having trouble contacting their goddess, and they feel something is moving beneath the city, but when he mentions the mess, they hurry right over.

The watchmen form a perimeter around the area, and begin to hurl torches onto the mess, but all that seems to do is make the yick bubble and spit. Alph orders them to move back out of it’s reach, but Elo sees some of her men succum to the illness, so she shoots them with mercy.

When the Galana Druids arrive they cover over the yick with a thorn bush, but seem really drained after doing it. They walk back with Daraja as escort, and as they get to the garden and find that the whole place seems dead. They go to the scrying pool at the back to find it drained, and the Druids’ staffs begin to shatter into dust and blood seeps from their eyes. They tell Daraja to run, so he does, and goes to Obedhime. Their garden, while not exactly affected, does come across as darker and more foreboding than usual. Daraja asks a tree what’s going on, and it shows him a face that says they have felt the same peculiar blanketing with access to their god. It entreats him to go to a unaffected church for assistance, so he hurries to the church of Pelor.

Meanwhile, Drakewing tells the others what the Galana druids said about restricted access to their god. Elo asks if Merry is okay, and she says she is. With the pool of mank covered over, they leave a token set of watchmen to keep the perimeter, and lead those that may have caught the plague to the temple of Moradin for purification and healing.

At the temple of Pelor, Daraja meets a man, Corven Hobbs, who says he’s an archeologist. Even though the man is a bit peculiar, Daraja tells him about the plague, and that he’s looking for a priest, but the man says he ‘s been studying a Death Priest artifact that might be behind the problem, and offers to lead him to a place outside the city where it lies. Daraja agrees to the plan, and says the group will meet him at the North gate in order to investigate this. While the man goes back to collect his scrolls, Daraja then goes to find the high Priest. The Priest vouches for Hobbes, and when Daraja tells him about the blight on Glana and Obedhim, and the plague, the Priest offers to send clerics to the site and fix things. Daraja says it seems targeted and the Priest agrees that maybe the Order of Nerull that has it out for him. With a final pledge of assistance from Pelor, Daraja leaves and goes to find the others, telling them about Hobbes and the artifact. They agree this sounds like a plan, and after meeting Hobbes at the gate, they travel out to find an ancient barrow.

They enter the barrow, and Elo asks Merry to check the stone for stability. She says some of the ‘stone’ looks like glamoured plaster, and goes to look at it, when Elo notices a trap. Unfortunately Merry activates it and a bunch of skeletons come through the plaster-work and attack them. The group do away with them easily enough but are more cautious going forward. They follow the barrows twists and turns, finding – but not activating – a few more traps, of the same style.

Eventually they come to a large room, at the end of which is a raised dais with a sarcophagus on it. Carefully elo checks it out, with guidance from Hobbs. they release the lid, and Alph swings it open. Inside lies a mummified figure with an iron crown. Hobbs reaches for the crown and holds it in his hands, before Elowen can check for traps. As he does so, he starts to grow feathers, and change into a half-raven form, and also starts cackling about how the prophet of Vecnar will reward him, and such things. Elo starts ordering him to put it down, and for a moment everyone is shouting at once, then suddenly Daraja leaps up and snaches the crown out of Hobbs hands. Elo shoots at Hobbs, injuring him in the side, and Alph turns and drives his axe into Daraja’s side, releasing a bolt of lighting from it. Daraja takes the crown and runs away, but Elo calls for him to stop. Daraja says clearly Alphonse has been possessed or something, but he is not hanging around with the evil crown to find out, and he’s going to take it to the wizards to destroy. Elo sends Stringwhiskers to keep and eye on him, but the rat refuses, preferring to stay with her, so Drakewing goes instead.

Daraja and Drakewing hurry back to the city, and head straight for the wizards’ tower, where once Daraja has explained the situation, the wizards destroy the crown. With that, Daraja heads off to the city watchhouse, to make a formal complain about Alphonse.

Back in the barrow, Alphonse seems like he intends to go after Daraja, but Elo says she needs his help with Hobbs, but Alph seems away with the pixies. She tries to place the birdman under arrest, and demands he explain himself, but he resists. Between the three of them, they knock Hobbes out, truss him up, and while Stringwhiskers guards him, Merry and Elo try to get Alph to focus on the present, and carrying Hobbes back to the city. He gibbers and mutters and it’s pretty clear he’s gone coo-coo for kaka-puffs, but they do manage to get him to take an arm. With Merry on the other side and Stringwhiskers and Elo on the feet, between them they manage to carry Hobbes out of the barrow and back to the city.

As the crown is destroyed, everyone within a several mile-radius feels a kind of shiver.

May 16 2015

Second Titan Adventure

It was here that the party finally split. After two years of fighting the forces of evil together, the party disbanded, Richard intent on his crusade against all lizzard folk, Bast and Victor intent on vanishing into the seedyness that is Port Blacksands and Alexis, at a loss, ran from the whole mess.

Skipping forward some 3 months and Alexis has found herself summoned to castle dire by the wizards who have now taken it as their home and place of governance. She is introduced to Hextor Francis who becomes her new ‘party’ and they are shown the results of Richard’s crusade: he is dead as are most of his men, and the evil spawn of the south are rising again. The pair are told of an army encroching to the south, their intent to take over castle dire. And so again, Alexis is cast into the fray, with a new party, to halt the oncoming rush of evil. Along the way the new team:

* Kill an entire army, using a demonic poison slug thing
* Return to liberate various places from Alexis’ past such as Firetop mountain and Troll Tooth Pass [and another flesh golem, Five point Six]
* Find themselves pitted against Alexis’ old and fallen comrades
* Discover that Xagor is still alive [sort of], in the demon planes, and is hell-bent on destroying Alexis – body and soul
* Find themselves back in Toragard, with the assistance and allegiance of one copper dragon named Kipris
* Watch Alexis manage to disintegrate herself and then be resurected as an Owl
* Discover people don’t much like Flesh Golems or talking owls…
* Find the entrance to a portal into a demon dimension and go and kick Xagor’s ass for the last and final time
* Return triumpant to Toragard, get wasted, and find a wizard [by the grace of greg] to change Alexis back into a woodling again.

May 11 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 24

After having helped the cops finish their arrests of the theater people, Enizeag decides to go get a drink. there’s a place he’s just heard of, around the corner from Drakewing’s place called the Dappled Unicorn, a middle class coaching inn. The bartender, an ex-body builder, draws Enizeag a pint and engages him in chit-chat, elaborating on an odd man who’s been pinching coaches. The barkeeper also mentions some strange figures darting around with tatty cloaks, that leave an odd smell in their wake. Enizeag say he’ll look into it and as he eats his meal, he listens to some of the conversations around, and notices a portly lordly type watching him. Enizege goes to have a word with him, and after a conversion where the chap introduces himself as Hanrsel Freitsbeirgr, and suggests that he might have a tip for Enizeag regarding the missing coaches. he offers some more cash for the sorting out of the issue. There’s a place on the west of town, he says, called 12 Albert Bay, recently purchased and turned into a park by a mysterious buyer, but that has acquired some unsavoury squatters. Enizeag says he knows it as one of Daraja’s places. The man is very excited that Enizeag knows Daraja. They finish their meal and Enizeag goes to look into the problem, and heads to find Daraja.

Alph leaves the house after his conversation with Cece, and heads to the watch house. On his way he thinks he sees something in the shadows, but pays it no mind, and then hears a bottle breaking and a curse. He goes to take a look and sees a glimpse of someone ducking behind a barrel. It’s cece. Ze is wearing revealing leather armour, and says xe is going to become an adventurer with the party, and says she ‘almost’ managed to creep on Alph. Alph says that he needs to confer with the rest of the group, and that he’s really busy, and starts to walk away. Cece is obviously annoyed at this, and tries to hold person on him. Alph is annoyed, but then sighs and takes her along to the watch house with him.

The moment they get into the watch house, the Captain starts yelling for Alph, then sees Cece. The Captain stops and panics, and then pulls Alph into his office. He tells alph to get Cece out of the station, and then tells Alph to get out of his office. Once he is clear of whatever the Captain was going to start shouting at him Alph finds Elo, who took Cece to meet Irvin. They have a quiet conversation without Cece, and Elo asks what Daraja has been up to. Irvine says the his rats followed Daraja to the home of Argonim Prospero, a wizard who is not “registered”, and who apparently specializes in curses. It seems that daraja has been in talks with this person. Elo warns the pair of them to keep everything on the super down-low and that any case brought against him needs to be absolutely concrete and water tight.
They agree, she also gives Irvine permission to take anyone he needs. While Alph and Cece go back to Drakewing’s house, so Cece can fix the massive hole in Alph’s armour, Elo goes to have a word with Farren. She apologizes to him, because she thinks she’s gotten her promotions ahead of him, and thinks it’s wrong, but he’s chilled about it all – says it’s fine – so she gives him some cash to buy himself some more baccy for his pipe, and heads back to join the other’s at the house.

By the time she gets there, Alphonse and Cece have gotten his armour fixed, and Cece has managed to piss off Meridith.
The group gather in the sitting room as there seems to be a few points of business needing to be discussed.
First up is Alphonse, who broaches the subject of Cece being made a part of the group, and they finally decide that is a terrible idea, not because of who and what she is, or her god or her talent, but because of her reactions to things. they think she’d be a liability, and try to figure out how to let her down gently. It doesn’t go quite as planned, but nothing catches alight or explodes so, it’s chalked up as a win.
Next up is Daraja and his package. He says he bought the group a load of magical rings, defence of the first level, and had to sell his mansion to do so. Elo and Alph seem a bit disturbed, knowing that the rings came from someone who specializes in curses, but after an angry confrontation, and a brief chat they all accept the rings. Elo apologies, and they move onto the third order.
Enizeag tells the group about his chat with the barman and the incident with the coaches. When darja gets annoyed that people are using his land for sketchy shenanigans they decide they should look into it. They take the ‘watchmen and disgruntled land owner’ angle, to which the men they encounter react poorly and then the fight starts.

The men start to attack, and of course the group defend themselves, with an aim to subdue and arrest, rather than kill. Unfortunately Alph is just a little too good, and ends up killing several of the men, as does Enizeag , and Daraja. Elo ko’s two, and as Enizeag grapples and throws the last one, Stringwhiskers does something and the man seems to look around wondering where he is.
The fat, sick-looking boss man is nowhere to be seen, but a horrible smoke emanates from the tent where he was standing. The confused man submits to Elo arresting him, but then starts to writhe and falls to his knees, and then vomits blood in front of her. They all back up as the other workers left alive start to do the same and chanting can be heard coming from the tent. Elo shoots at the man inside and gets a hit, but Enizeag takes might offense and throws a torch at it, setting it on fire in an explosion. A tide of yick comes out just as Merry identifies the spell as being a Contagion spell, specifically to bring plague, and they back up further as the fat man comes running out of the tent on fire.

May 4 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 23

Cece, the flamboyant director, fetches the nearly-nekkid Alphonse wine and wanders away to find some food. While xe is doing so, Alphonse notices some tapping across the ceiling while he rests. He listens harder and hears a conversation above him about Thatcher, killing and resurrections, and how it’s most unseemly in their temple. They start discussing how many times adventurers like Alphonse keep coming into the city and the theater and messing things up. They then start to discuss how they should lock down the theater that night and dispose of Alphonse so he and his ‘kind’ can’t cause problems any more.

Alph thinks that’s the right time to split, so grabs a throw and wraps it around himself. Cece comes back and Alph takes one look at hir and hir not-dress, finds the laundry hatch and drives down it. He slides down and lands outside but slams into a wall, and looks up into some shiny boots. Mr Shiny Boots, an obvious thespian, asks who he is, and what he’s doing here. Alph tries to slide away, and slams into a post. The man puts his foot in Alphonse’s back and after a little conversation, leads him to a nice dining room. They then discuss Alphonse’s leaving, but first Shiny-Boots wants to know what Alph may have heard. Alphose goes for truth, and says he heard something being ‘a foot’ but isn’t sure what. The man nods and orders Alph to be shackled. Alphonse lets himself be shackled, because he knows the oil on his body will allow him to escape later. Mr Shiny-Boots says nows is the time to get him sorted for the performance. Alph, not being an actor in the slightest, takes offense to this and tries to use the shackles to strangle Shiny-Boots. Mr Boots tutts and uses Hold Person to keep him, ah, rigid. Alph’s captors take him off to a room under the theater where a decrepit old priest says they’re going to prepare Alphonse for display. He is shackled to a structure, and takes the time to look around, with what little movement he has. There are monoliths surrounding him, and the stones are hooked up to chains reaching to the ceiling. it looks as though, when those stones move, the platform will rise up to the ceiling, which will open will open on to the theater stage to show Alph off.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group are following Alphonse’s slick ‘snail’ trail. While the others go to see if they can obtain their slippery companion from from Cece, Elowin, with Daraja in tow, peals off to go see the Captain and get shouted at.

At the theater of Olidammara, they see a door at the back of the theater open a crack with a light coming through. The group hear Cece complaining about Alphonse being ‘taken’ by someone. Drakewing goes in to say hello, and Cece flails at him, saying that they took Alph away from hir. The man who xe is talking to says he ‘rescued’ Alph from Cece and he will take them to him. They agree, and follow the theater man, who leads them through dark corridors and then… onto the stage.

The lights comes up and the group sees where they are, and the audience around them. The announcer, the man who lead them to the stage, says welcomes the audience and introduces the group as the forces of chaos. The stage opens and Alphonse is brought up, bound on a cross in a ring. He sees the others, starts shouting to be helped, and then sees the audience. People in deep cloaks start to move around the stage, pulling weapons, and that’s about when the fight started.
The announcer summons a thoqqua, which breaks half the stage and lights the set on fire. Alph and his chains are flung towards the back of the stage, which interrupts the hold person charm over him, and he manages to escape. Lorc starts singing and wanders over to assist Alphonse, and give the newly freed fighter his sword back. Stringwhiskers casts hold person on the announcer and Meredith kneecaps the announcer, and tries to interrogate him. However, because of the hold person spell, his jaw is locked and he cannot even scream.
The thoqqua rolls around and lands on Enizeag, making him angry, so the half-orc turns and hits a support pillar, bringing the house down on top of some extras.
Lorc hears a whistling sound behind them, and a man with a mask of the Laughing God starts clapping. He says the performance was a sham, and has a damning critique of the actors. The man, in a purple cloak, offers his congratulations to Lorc, and offers Alph the rapiers of the announcer, who turns out to be Mr Shiny Boots, Alphonse takes them, but says he also wants everyone who was involved in his abduction to be arrested. The purple cloaked thespian, agrees and offers his sincere apologies, before walking to a throne hidden at the back of the stage.
From somewhere more shackles are produced, people complicit in the abduction start getting clapped in irons and the audience leaves for drinks.

Meanwhile Elowin and Daraja have gone off to the watch house, her to report to the Captain about the explosion, he to defend himself before Alph can accuse him of deliberately killing the alchemist. After Elo get’s done explaining her side of things, the Captain sighs, but doesn’t start shouting. Instead he tells them that the alchemist has been a problem, and thanks them for taking him out, and that she and Alphonse did a good job in evacuating all the people. The Captain starts muttering about the mess though, and Daraja offers to take on the contract for the council to help rebuild the homes affected. The Captain gibbers slightly at this amazing piece of news, and gives Elo another promotion. As they leave the captain’s office, Elo gibbering herself, and a they make their way through the station a lot of Elo’s colleagues either salute and congratulate her or suddenly need to nip out for a fag – including her own partner. They come across Irvine who accidentally starts to blurt out about the investigation into Daraja in front of the woodling, and then stops, but Daraja shrugs and says he has nothing to hide.

Suddenly Merry and Enizeag show up and ask to borrow a cart for Watch business. Darja says he will return to Drakewings house, while Elo goes back to assist the others with their arrests and processing, with Merry filling her in on the details on the way to the theater.

May 3 2015

Destiny’s New Servants: Elowen’s Backstory

My name is Elowen of Toregarde, and I am an Corporal in Toureguard City Watch.

I was brought here, along with my adopted family, as a refugee when I was 8 years old by the adventurer Alexis Dalliance and her friends.

Like her, I am a woodling, displaced by events from my home in Darkwood Forest. A group of orcs, driven by a madman from another plane, ransacked my village. I do not recall how I escaped – but I still remember their clan name. I stumbled around in the woods, until I was found by others fleeing from the raid. They took me in, and we made a family, escaping to the town of Stonebridge together, which is where Alexis and her friends found us, and brought us to her home.

I had known her all of two hours, when I told Alexis I would find those orcs and make them pay. I remember she nodded and told me she would train me to do so, if that’s really what I wanted. However, after the close of the portal above the town, she changed.

When the city was rebuilt and the council gave their ultimatum, many expected her to give them the archer’s salute and leave, but she didn’t. Instead, she accepted it, and retired to watch over the portal. Once, when Mistress Selene was deep in her cup, she confided to me that Alexis had stared into the howling maw of The Pit, and looked at each of those gibbering mouths and gnashing tentacles in turn, until she’d seen all the way down to the Nothing at the bottom. She had a theory about her friend’s change, she told me: Alexis had never been very stable, but Mistress Selene thought that slightly-too-long look had pushed Alexis so far over the edge, that she’d come back up the other side, and was the sanest she’d ever been. Mistress Selene had been worried though, that one day we’d turn around and Alexis would simply be an unrecognisable shade of her former self.

Alexis still trained me when I asked her at the age of 10, as I had asked all those years ago, and in time, she told me revenge was pointless. She had sent the remnants of the clan that attacked my village into battle as their redemption, a long time ago, and none of them ever came back. I felt hollow for a long time after that, but she soon had me back, picking locks and dodging fireballs. She was tough and pushy, and kept me so busy that I soon learnt to put that past behind me, and find a new place for my self. I changed my Name from that which was given – Featherdown – to the one I’m known as today.

Alexis taught me what she could of traps and fighting, of making the most of my eyes and ears and my brain, but she also gave me a code of honour that she called Hex’s Way. Never fight someone weaker than yourself; Live humbly and graciously; Protect those around you; Always stand up to those who would try to harm others.

As I came of age, at 16, she decided she had taught me all she could, and sent me with a letter to the Captain of the City Watch. I became a Watchman and used what Alexis had taught me to help investigate the petty crimes a city will always attract.

Mistress Selene had been right in her prediction, however; Alexis continued to change, and I was worried for my Mentor. She would only drink the weakest ale and eat the thinnest of broth. She left the portal tower less and less, and would sit day and night with her crossbow on her lap, watching the seal. I tried to visit her as much as I could, to encourage her to come and outside with me, but she dismissed me.

Then one day I went to see her, and found her stool empty and Mistress Selene waiting for me instead. The old Wizard’s face was grim as she handed me a sealed envelope. Inside was a folded piece of parchment. It was torn and charred and stained, a ring and a key. The key was to her house – I recognised it instantly, the ring I recalled having seen Alexis wear, but I didn’t know what it did. Mistress Selene looked sad as she saw the paper, as though she already knew what it was, as I unfolded it. It was addressed to a Captain Hengar, and the first line read: ‘In the event of my death,’ My eyes had blurred over, and I couldn’t read any more.
“Did something happen?” I asked, blinking quickly.
“Not yet,” Selene said. “I came in today and she was just gone. I checked the house. Even the Plot Hook. No one’s seen her. She’s left town, probably for good.”
“What do you mean, ‘not yet’?”
“If she’s gone, it’s for one reason,” Mistress Selene looked at me. “And it looks like she’s made you her sole beneficiary.”
I carefully put the paper and items back in the the envelope, and left the tower in a daze clutching it to me like a comforter, and turned towards the Watch House.

It has been two years since that day, and the fun is just getting started.

April 22 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 21

As the group are progressing up the mountain path, they suffers an ambush by raccoon dogs. After the raccoons have been dispatched, the quiet was interrupted by a monk procession, with flute and drum, who say they have been sent out to find the group. Zhou, their guide offers his farewell and tips out his basket, the one that contained String Whiskers. The party follow the monks back into the mountains to discover a little hidden temple. As they come into the courtyard, they see there is a table with two bent figures umming and erring over small tiles – a game of some kind. One is a dwarf, very hairy, and the other is a old turtle man, bent on staff, humming peacefully.. They watch while the elders play. The turtle wins and the drawn complains that his fellow cheats, and wanders off in search of a drink.

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March 30 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 20

Alphonse meets his new partner, Irvin Cobbleskater, and Irvin’s ‘informants': a pack of rats he’s befriended, and sees how much work the copper has managed to get done with them. Together they start to tackle the pile of cases on Alphonse’s desk.

Meanwhile, Elo, Enizeag, whiskers and Lorc arrive at the council chambers where the general is waiting for them. the sword is placed on a table and after some discussion, a priest of pelor attempts to excise the demon from the sword. Unfortunately all he does is set it free, and it vanishes.

Merry, who is reading, feels a cold wind blast through and out of the window sees a dark cloud heading towards the area she knows Daraja has his home.

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March 23 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Parts 18 & 19

The warren is defeated, the king flees and the two ogres cause the tunnel to collapse down on them. The hero’s run, and find themselves on the edge of a cavern where the underpath has collapsed and only a swift river remains. They get themselves sorted with rope and make it across just fine, however with all the excitement, they find themselves exhausted, so try to settle down  to rest. Once again they are close to the edge of a path collapse, and it’s not long before a troll climbs up and tries to munch on them. They defeat it, and try to settle back down…

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March 16 2015

Destiny’s New Servants, Part 17

The party thinks they hear intelligent squeezing, like a rat trying to sing. They notice that is exactly what it is, and there is a nezumi rat-man plucking at a 3-string lute. Elo hails him and asks if he knows where the necromancers are, and he says they are just ahead, and asks if they need help. They group say yes, and he comes along. They catch up and swiftly take out the necromancers, however the leader has already scarpered via dimension door. They search the bodies and find a note to say they will rendezvous at Castle Dire.

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